Couples watch the day end at Sunset Cliffs. / Photo by Thomas Melville
San Diego is known as America’s Finest City, but what exactly makes it the finest? The climate is often the answer, which does ring true. A poll by Expedia.com asked more than 1,000 Americans to name the most scenic West Coast cities. San Diego won the top spot.
Lily Rogers, writer of “21 of the Most Scenic West Coast Cities,” an article for the Expedia Viewfinder blog, explained that she had pulled from two questions on the survey for her article.
First, the people were asked which region of the country they most wanted to visit. The majority chose the West Coast. Second, an open-ended question was included asking them which destination on the West Coast was the most beautiful.
San Diego in general was named most often, with some answers calling out particular places like Del Mar. The questions on the survey implied that the people had been to their suggested location before. Other areas such as Sunset Cliffs or La Jolla were not specifically called out by those polled, explained Rogers.
“San Diego County houses so much beautiful coastline, visitors can tailor their experience to their likes. That’s one of the things that make it so special,” said Rogers, herself a San Diego resident.
Rogers has many favorite places along the coast, including Harbor Island.
“The view of the skyline and the sailboats bobbing in the water shows San Diego in its prettiest light. It’s so quintessentially San Diego – a beautiful space reaching right down to the water,” Rogers said.
Having Sunday brunch at the Bali Hai on Shelter Island is a San Diego must for Rogers. “Those views of the bay from the huge display windows are unforgettable,” she said.
Rogers’ other favorite San Diego coastal scenery icons include the vantage point from Centennial Park in Coronado, sunsets at the Ocean Beach Pier, and La Jolla Shores.
Edna Gutierrez, public relations manager at San Diego Tourism Authority is not at all surprised by the poll’s results.
“With 70 miles of breathtaking beaches, the question is ‘why not San Diego?’” she said. “The diversity of San Diego’s offerings is what sets it apart from other destinations and this is not the first honor San Diego has garnered.”
Gutierrez explained that in March of this year, Family Vacation Critic named Coronado as one of the Best Beaches for Families in 2018.
In October 2017, San Diego ranked No. 1 for Best Beach Destination and Year Round Perfect Weather, according to the readers of Travel + Leisure magazine’s “America’s Favorite Cities” issue. In that same month, Conde Nast Traveler reader’s choice awards ranked San Diego in the Top 10 Best Big Cities in the U.S.
Just a month earlier, Sunset.com had listed San Diego as No. 1 in its list of 20 Best California Beach Vacation Spots.
“Word of mouth is very powerful, but also the San Diego Tourism Authority’s marketing initiatives and programs position San Diego as an ultimate destination,” Gutierrez said.
“The San Diego brand story is now being told across multiple media plant-rooms, channels, storytellers and influencers around the world,” she said.
Gutierrez explained that potential travelers need tangible reasons and iconic imagery that clearly communicate why San Diego is a must-see destination.
“For these long-haul markets, we promote San Diego as California’s Beach City,” said Gutierrez.
But what ultimately garners San Diego the top spot for the most scenic city on the West Coast? Gutierrez stated that it was the people who help make San Diego iconic.
“There is a symbiotic relationship between those who live and work here, and those who visit. San Diegans are the ultimate face of San Diego and maintaining that friendly vibe will ensure visitors want to come back,” Gutierrez said.
For Rogers, that friendly vibe in SoCal culture is perfectly embodied at the Ocean Beach Pier.
“You’ll likely see in one snapshot: hula hoopers and skateboarders in their swim suits, beach cruisers, buskers, surfers, colorful beach umbrellas, strolling beachgoers enjoying frozen yogurt, open-air bars, and fishers on the pier,” Rogers said.